Covid-19: Tourism Infrastructure Fund reopened - hardest hit regions getting priority

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash visited several businesses, including Whale Watch, in Kaikōura today...
Tourism Minister Stuart Nash visited several businesses, including Whale Watch, in Kaikōura today. Photo: George Heard
The Government's Tourism Infrastructure Fund has been reopened and the regions hardest hit by a lack of overseas visitors will get priority.

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash made the announcement while in Kaikōura today.

The fund was established in 2017 and last allocated money in 2019 - this will be round five of funding and it has been rejigged to take into account the impact Covid-19 has had on tourism.

The final size of the funding pool is still to be determined but is expected to be between $13-$18 million, he said.

"I have updated the criteria for projects to be prioritised by the fund. It will now better reflect the reality that jobs and businesses in some regions, particularly the South Island, are harder hit by the loss of international tourists than other regions."

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash is visiting several businesses in Kaikōura today. Photo: George Heard
Tourism Minister Stuart Nash is visiting several businesses in Kaikōura today. Photo: George Heard
Applications from the Kaikōura, MacKenzie - Aoraki Mt Cook, Queenstown Lakes, Fiordland and South Westland districts will be prioritised.

"All councils will still be eligible to apply if they lack adequate revenue sources to cater for visitors, for example if they have a small ratepayer base. Community groups with council backing can also apply.

"All applicants will be asked to demonstrate the need for support with visitor infrastructure."

He said the funding will ensure government investment in visitor projects can continue while they work to open quarantine-free travel with Australia, and other international connections when it is safe to do so.

"The projects will provide much-needed local employment as tourism towns work to diversify their economies. The new infrastructure will also ensure the quality of the visitor experience is improved for when tourists return in greater numbers."

Applications for the fund will open next month.

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